In truth, there were actually few now well-known systems that constructed much of their own network or key main routes; it was much less costly to simply purchase smaller lines. In general, many fabled lines gained their names during either the late 19th or early 20th centuries. A few, like the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio system were not created until the 1930s. In any event, today nearly all of those classic companies are gone except for just a few (the Union Pacific is perhaps the most notable along with the Kansas City Southern and the roads up north, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National), although their legends and names will always live on.
Atlantic Coast Line, "Standard Railroad Of The South"
Central of Georgia, "The Right Way"
Clinchfield Railroad, "Quick Service-Short Route"
Family Lines System
Florida East Coast, "Speedway To Sunshine" (This railroad is still operating, it is placed here because of its long and storied history.)
Gulf, Mobile & Ohio, "The Rebel Route"
Interstate Railroad, Southwestern Virginia's Coal-Hauler
Louisville & Nashville, "The Old Reliable"
Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis, "The Dixie Line"
Norfolk & Western, "Precision Transportation"
Norfolk, Franklin & Danville, Successor To The Atlantic & Danville
Original Norfolk Southern, "East Carolina Dispatch"
Shamrock Coal Company's, "Oneida & Western"
Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac, "Linking North & South"
Seaboard Air Line, "Through The Heart Of The South"
Seaboard Coast Line, "We're Pulling For You"
Southern Railway, "Look Ahead - Look South"
Tennessee, Alabama & Georgia Railway, "The TAG Route"
Tennessee Central Railway, "The Nashville Route"
Virginian Railway, Hauling Black Diamonds
The West Point Route: The Georgia Railroad/Atlanta & West Point/Western Railway Of Alabama
Of course, aside from former Class Is (about the only classic lines featured here) other, smaller historic railroads can still be found in service with names like the Ann Arbor, Escanaba & Lake Superior, Claremont Concord, Wheeling & Lake Erie, New York Susquehanna & Western, Florida East Coast, Winchester & Western, Apache Railway, Toledo Peoria & Western, and many more. Here within this page you will find information on some of the best remembered describing each in more detail and broken down into the territory where they operated (i.e., east, west, north, south). Since the website first debuted I have finally had the chance to feature many of these lines although I realize that some are still omitted. As time allows in the future I will look to cover these companies although as it currently stands there are more than 100 highlighted.
Akron, Canton & Youngstown, "Ohio's Road Of Service"
Algoma Central Railway, "The Agawa Canyon Route"
Belt Railway of Chicago, The Windy City's Noted Belt Road (This railroad is still operating but is placed here because of its historical significance.)
Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, "The Roarin' Elgin"
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, "Everywhere West"
Chicago & Eastern Illinois, "Speed-Efficiency-Service"
Chicago & Illinois Midland, Central Illinois's Coal Road
Chicago & North Western, "Route Of The '400'"
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, "Route Of The Rockets"
Chicago & Western Indiana, Serving Dearborn Station
Chicago Great Western, "The Corn Belt Route"
Chicago, South Shore & South Bend, "The South Shore Line" (This railroad is still operating but is placed here because of its historical significance.)
Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern, Midwestern Regional
Detroit & Mackinac Railway, "The Turtle Line"
Detroit, Toledo & Ironton, "We Have The Connections"
Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range, "The Missabe Road"
Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific, "Delivered With Pride"
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern, "The Chicago Outer Belt"
Gateway Western Railway, Operating The Former Chicago & Alton
Green Bay & Western, "The Green Bay Route"
Grand Trunk Western, "The Good Track Road"
Illinois Central, "The Main Line Of Mid-America"
Illinois Terminal, "The Road Of Personalized Services"
Indiana Harbor Belt, "Connects With All Chicago Railroads" (This railroad is still operating, it is placed here because of its long and storied history.)
Iowa, Chicago & Eastern, A Division Of The DM&E
Kansas City Southern, "Route Of The Southern Belle" (This railroad is still operating, it is placed here because of its long and storied history.)
Lake Superior & Ishpeming, Upper Peninsula Ore Hauler (This railroad is still operating but placed here because of its historical significance.)
Minneapolis & St. Louis, "The Peoria Gateway"
Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern, "The Dan Patch Line"
Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville (Monon), "The Hoosier Line"
New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate Road), "High Speed Service"
Pere Marquette Railway, Michigan's Own Road
Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie, "The Soo Line"
St. Louis Southwestern, "The Cotton Belt Route"
Toledo, Peoria & Western, "Links East And West" (This railroad is still operating but is placed here because of its historical significance.)
Wabash, "Follow The Flag"
Wisconsin Central Railway, Reclaiming Its Heritage
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (The Santa Fe), "Ship And Travel Santa Fe, All The Way"
Central Pacific, Forming The Transcontinental Railroad
Colorado & Southern, From Wyoming To Texas
Denver & Rio Grande Western, "Mainline Thru The Rockies"
El Paso & Southwestern, "The Southwestern Route"
The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, "The Katy"
Missouri Pacific, "Route Of The Eagles"
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, "Ship It On The Frisco!"
Southern Pacific, "The Friendly Southern Pacific"
Union Pacific, "Be Specific - Ship Union Pacific" (This railroad is still operating, it is placed here because of its long and storied history.)
Burlington Northern, The West's First Mega-Railroad
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific (The Milwaukee Road), "Route Of The Hiawathas"
Milwaukee Road's Pacific Coast Extension, Providing The Only Service From Chicago To The Puget Sound
Great Northern, "Go Great - Go Great Northern"
Northern Pacific, "Main Street Of The North West"
Pacific Electric Railway, "Comfort-Speed-Safety"
Spokane International, Connecting Spokane With The Canadian Border
Spokane, Portland & Seattle, "The Northwest's Own Railway"
Western Pacific, "Feather River Route"
Yakima Valley Transportation: Serving Yakima, Washington
You may notice that Canadian National and Canadian Pacific are now included in the website. After giving it much thought the two lines have played too significant of a role in the railroad industry's history, especially in its current and future state, to be left out and unmentioned. For instance several are now of Canadian ownership/control such as the Soo Line (and indirectly the Milwaukee Road through the Soo's takeover by CP), Delaware & Hudson Railway, Illinois Central, Grand Trunk Western, Central Vermont, and the Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific Railway. Lastly, for more reading about many classic short lines like the Durham & Southern, Magma Arizona, Camas Prairie, please click here.
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